• Diário de Pernambuco
     Capoeira, turist attraction from Bahia, in TV! 

    [..] being present in their studios, mestre Cobrinha Verde and a group of his capoeiristas that will show live the "arrastão", the "encruzilhada" and the famous and scary "rabo de arraia"!


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    Diário de Pernambuco, 1961

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      Capoeira, turist attraction from Bahia, in TV!
      Diário de Pernambuco, 17/Nov/1961

      THE GREAT JORNEY will focus today on the most traditional and picturesque Brazilian cities. City which name still gives a reason to discuss among philologists and historians while the people are totally indifferent. This city, despite this has its own unique personality: it was the first city to be built by the portuguese colonizers, concentrating in itself a series of legendary and mysterious manifestations in its beliefs. It's Salvador. Salvador or São Salvador? That's what the academics are discussing. But for the people of the city it's just Bahia. Bahia with "h". And it's capoeira, an aspect, of many aspects, of this traditional city, which is going to be shown on TV on program called THE GREAT JOURNEY, that TV Radio Club - Channel 6, is showing today, at 21:30.


      Without escaping the truth we can say that capoeira is the three things at the same time. Or, at least, these get mixed up in the secret origin of capoeira. Before, however, it was only a fighting style, brought by the negros from Angola. A fight where the maximum importance was given to the feet and the headbutt, while the hands served only as support. Capoeira made invincible those who practised it and for this was right away persecuted in all the slave huts. But the negros didn't delay in finding a solution: the camuflaged the fight with pantomimes, mimics and dances, accompanied by music. This way they fooled the supervisor. This was the origin of what we today know as capoeira.


      Capoeira comes from "capões" [a patch of forest in the field] because it was in the forests and in the forest clearings where the runaway negros were hiding ready to react with very violent kicks against those who would come to recapture them. With the abolition capoeira became mainly in Rio and in Recife a malandro privilege. However, in Bahia, capoeira conserved and brought together its character of a folcloric manifestation, substituting the boldness of the kicks for an admirable coreographic richness, becoming a true tourist attraction.


      There are countless capoeira groups in Bahia. All of them are led by a "mestre", who all have the "closed body" through mandinga and, following the tradition, there is only one weapon that can beat them: the "ticum", a wooden knife. It's a secret of capoeira. It a mystery of Bahia, so full of mysteries...


      The baribau is the typical capoeira instrument. It was already used by the indians. It has only one chord and it is only but a bow with is connected to a steel wire in both endings. This steel wire is a modern improvement, because the authentic indian baribau had a taut cipó "imbé" [lacy tree philodendron]. A gourd in one of the endings serves as a sound box. The baribau is plucked with the help of a copper coin, which the tradition demands to be a dobrão, an old brazilian coin. The caxiui is made of a little weaved straw bag which holds seeds inside. When shaken, it functions as a rattle. The pandeiro nowadays substituted the african drum, which was used in capoeira in the old days.

      These instruments make the "orchestra" which accompanies capoeira. The baribau is the instrument which makes the music, being for this matter the main instrument. The caxiui and the pandeiro provide the rhythm.


      Today, capoeira, in Bahia is an authentic sport. People from all social layers practise it with enthusiasm. There are university capoeira groups and also countless "academies" for the study of capoeira. While capoeira can only with difficulty be regulated as sport to serve for competition because the tendency of its kicks is to seriously wound one of many adversaries. However with its original coreography and rough and primitive music, capoeira is a dignified ballet which is seen to hold folcloric peculiarities. And it's before anything a style of rhythmic gymnastics which is capable to develop the general physical preparation, and specially the agility and the resistance.


      How are the "bambas" [tough guys] of capoeira? How did they start to learn this "art"? What are its kicks? All of this and more on a walk around Bahia's traditions and legends, will be on THE GREAT JOURNEY, that channel 6 will put on the air today, at 21:30, being present in their studios, mestre Cobrinha Verde and a group of his capoeiristas that will show live the "arrastão", the "encruzilhada" and the famous and scary "rabo de arraia"!

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